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Trip Start Feb 20, 2011
Trip End Feb 20, 2012

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Where I stayed

Flag of Canada  , Northwest Territories,
Sunday, February 20, 2011

After all my years of writing exactly what comes out of my brain, I have learned one thing.
It works the best once you have had at least a week to think about it.
I have had two weeks to think about Yellowknife, and this is what I think.

So here I am again.

I jumped off the plane in Yellowknife to a balmy -8C late winter afternoon. I squinted into the reflected sunlight and finally made my descent onto the ground.
Like a sub-zero Jackie Os and JFKs, but minus papparrazzi, sunshine and palm trees, we all had to walk down the pull-out stairs across the blustery runway to get to the terminal.
When we got there, most of us knew who we were meeting. I saw a guy who had obviously been here and back more than a few times. He wore a salt and pepper beard, with a grizzled, skinny and frantic look, carrying nothing but a beat up schoolbag, yelling into his indestructible satellite phone.
"Hey Jack, I'm back! Should i just start walking or what?" and he belted out to his co-worker on the other end.
I looked around, dazed, tired, rudely awoken from a peaceful nap, not recognizing anyone. Out of the small crowd of family and friends, acquaintances and taxi drivers, I noticed someone who I hoped was not waiting for me. 
He had Stephen Harper hair, he was thin and pale, wearing a giant black Canada Goose jacket, he was wandering slowly around the terminal, obviously looking for someone.
Please, don't be waiting for for me.
I wandered to the back of the terminal, hoping I would find someone else who looked like the "journalist" type. In the back of my mind, I had an uneasy feeling it was him.
There I was, in baggy jeans, a short black, wrinkled skirt thrown on top of them (a last minute addition because I knew I'd want them once temperatures rose to spring-time levels), a grey puffy vest and my disheveled hair and falling-apart roller-blader backback.
"Yeah, it's me," I said, disappointedly, trying to look happy I was here, starting a new job in the middle of nowhere.
I was the only one who had five checked bags. I was the only one who had fixed them together with duct tape. People looked at me and smiled widely, clearly thinking, "She doesn't know what she's getting into."
And clearly I didn't.

I remember the big polar bear in the baggage claim. I remember the Yellowknife sign, that I took a photo of two years ago, with my former boyfriend. I remember laughing because when we set up the shot, we missed the Y.

"I'm Derek, I'll help you get your stuff."
"Oh, thanks," and I forced a smile.

Like a devoted puppy, he helped me bring all my boxes to his car. Then, fulfilling his duties of official Northern News Services tour guide, he brought me around town in his giant Black Escape. Showing me the Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire and outrageous residential architecture.

He drove me around town and showed me all the places to shop, along with old town and other things.

I got a tour of the new office. It's huge and they do the printing on-site.
I found out that I will not have to do layout anymore! That blew me away. I will just be writing and taking photos, I suppose. Calling people, writing writing writing... calling more people from surrounding towns and begging them for photos.

I like layout a lot sometimes, but this will be a nice break.

We dragged my giant blue boxes down the stairs to my room, there were signs advising everything posted up all over the place "Please do not drag your bags across the walls when you carry them down the stairs," "Going out? Do your small part! Help save the planet! Turn off yor TV and lights! Tanks!" You can imagine the rest.
There was a statue of an man, with his pants down in the washroom. My room was appropriately called the teddy bear room, the rest had equally saccharine names.
I don't want to stay at Embleton any longer than I have to, so I am looking for a place to couchsurf tomorrow, if I'm allowed.

There are a four Japanese tourists here as well as me, but they don't really speak English so I leave them alone.

I have to use this public computer so I won't have much time for emails or chats this week.

After I wrote this, Rodney called me and asked if I wanted to go out for a beer/coffee.

First, I couldn't get out of this place. The door had frozen shut and when I rang the doorbell to their house, the owners couldn't be bothered to answer the door. I heard them moving around in there too!

Anyway, Rodney eventually came and bashed the door open and we went out on the town on a Sunday night.

I had flashbacks of Shawville when we went to the Black Knight and found that it was closed at 8 p.m.

We ended up at the coffee shop, where I got some almond milk and he talked.

Funny guy, he makes his own fun. I felt like I didn't have to be there and he would have had the same amount of fun without me.

Mission for tomorrow: Work and sushi with Rod .
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marian on

So I guess you got all your bags, that's good. Here's hoping they follow you to Inuvik. Glad you got some sleep, I had a nap today too.

Matt in Montreal on

hey L,
sounds positively delightful. You made no disparaging jokes about how long the 'tour of the town' took, so I'll take it it's a bustling metropolis compared to shawville? Hard to imagine you of all people avoiding fellow travelers from anywhere, let alone Japan - especially when you are craving sushi! Though their tastes are likely too refined to stomach Yellowknife butchering (so much pun intended) their national dish.

Send along your reporting - I haven't been keeping up on my northern affairs...


starlagurl on

Yep, I got all my bags.
I had a nice bath too. Now I am as good as new.
I guess I was just too tired to deal with the language differences. It's tiring trying to speak in caveman language for people...

gildo on


Glad to hear you made it there safely and that your adventure is starting out on a good note! :)

mmbcross on

"The door had fozed shut" - "he makes his own fun"
Goodness, looks like are really entertaining place to be, Whatever were four Japanese tourists doing up there? Perhaps they are planning to be frozen in time!

starlagurl on

Haha, they were on a round the world trip and this is their last stop before heading home.

I guess they've been here for a week or something? It's very interesting. I guess they want to see the northern lights.

mmbcross on

You actually mean you have lights up there?

starlagurl on

Ha...ha... yes. Lots of lights... of the electric AND magnetic kind.

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